The story of us: 5 Jewish museums that preserve our culture and history

    The Sephardic Legacy at The Contemporary Jewish Museum

    With our long history of surviving attempts to erase our culture and stories, Jews are understandably proud of our accomplishments and determined to never forget our past. There’s no better way to get in touch with the universal elements of Jewish culture, celebrate our shared stories, and honor those we have lost, than by visiting one of these great Jewish museums.

    1 Museum of Jewish Heritage
    Photos of French deportees at the Museum of Jewish Heritage

    Museum of Jewish Heritage (New York, NY)

    2 Lobby installation
    Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes’ multimedia installation for the museum’s lobby.

    The Jewish Museum (New York, NY)


    You may have rushed through on a middle school class visit to Washington, DC, but this one is worth a second look, especially since it’s free. The museum is dedicated to helping people everywhere confront hatred, prevent genocide, promote human dignity, and strengthen democracy. To better understand the Holocaust on a more personal scale, each visitor to the permanent collection receives an ID card detailing the life of an individual victim or survivor. In the Holocaust Survivors and Victims Resource Center, visitors can research their own family histories. The Museum’s oral history collection is one of the largest and most diverse resources for Holocaust testimonies in the world.

    4 Yom Kippur in 1955

    The Contemporary Jewish Museum (San Francisco, CA)

    5 Yom Kippur in 1955

    Jews have a special part in the immigrant American dream, and this museum, located right on Philadelphia’s Independence Mall, is devoted to the story of how Jewish immigrants came to the United States and became Jewish-Americans. Its purpose is to connect Jews more closely to their heritage and to inspire in visitors a greater appreciation for the diversity of the American Jewish experience. The core collection includes more than 30,000 artifacts; highlights can be found on their website. Upcoming special exhibits include The Art of Rube Goldberg and Sarah Berman’s Closet, an outdoor installation created by artist Maira Kalman and curator Alex Kalman to honor their grandmother.

    What are some of your favorite Jewish Museums?

    American-Israeli in her 20’s • Lover of fashion, food and art • Honorably discharged from the IDF and currently in the Reserves.